Letters | Marriage and Society

Marriage equality should not be put to popular vote

Jeff Jacoby yet again shares his anti-equality stance, by recognizing the recent successes of gay marriage through votes in Maine, Maryland, and Washington, and, at the same time, by dismissing the long-held concern of marriage-equality activists that civil rights should not be put to a popular vote (“Gay marriage should be at the ballot box,” Op-ed, Nov. 14).

While these recent advancements in gay marriage are encouraging, they do not address the thousands of committed gay and lesbian families nationwide who live without the benefits and protections of legalized marriage, as a result of successful initiatives at the polls to bar their rights.


To bolster his argument, Jacoby quotes Thomas Jefferson: “I know no safe depository of the ultimate power of the society but the people themselves.”

Perhaps Jacoby might want to further reflect on Jefferson’s first inaugural address in 1801: “Bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will, to be rightful, must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal laws must protect, and to violate would be oppression.”

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I would argue that gay and lesbian families seeking to be legally wed would be thrilled to avail themselves of the equality under the law that Jefferson suggests.

Donna Ruvolo


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